Anyone who resides in a foreign country would wish to bring their family with them. You definitely can do this in Japan by applying for a Dependent Visa. But what is a Dependent Visa? Who can apply and what are the requirements? These are some questions that you need to know the answer.
What is a Dependent Visa?
A Dependent Visa, also known as Spouse or Family Visa, is a type of visa that a foreigner, who lives to work or study in Japan, can apply for his legal spouse or a child, even if it is an adult, but as long as the child is unmarried, it is allowed. When we say dependent, this means someone legally depends on one’s income or finances. But some cases are excluded or will not be granted with this type of visa and these are the following:
- The foreigner applied for his fiance.
- The foreigner applies for a common-law spouse.
- The foreigner applies for a same-sex spouse. Although Japan has accepted and supported such marriage, applying for such is next to impossible.
- The foreigner applies for the child of the spouse from a previous partner unless the child is legally adopted.
- The foreigner applies for parents and siblings, though are dependent on the foreigner, are excluded.
Who Can Apply?
A foreigner who lives in Japan can apply for a Dependent Visa for his family, he must be with one of the following residence status:
- Religious activities
- Investor/Business Manager
- Legal/Accounting Services
- Medical Services
- Specialist in Humanities/International Services
- Intra-company Transferee
- Cultural Activities; and
If it is confirmed that the foreigner has the status listed above, he can then apply either through his company or by himself. The company or the applicant can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for a Dependent Visa at the regional Immigration Bureau at the applicant’s place of residence.
But the question arises as to whether the applicant can bring all of his dependents at the same time or can a foreign worker fly to Japan with a dependent. This question depends much on the company that the applicant is working for. If the company is a large enterprise, it can get a Certificate of Eligibility for the applicant and the dependent. It must be considered as well that the applicant’s pay from the company is enough to support the stay of his spouse or child while in Japan. Also, the company must be listed under Category 1 or 2 of the Ministry of Justice.
Japanese stock listed company
A mutual company that operates an insurance business
National and local government
Independent administrative agency, special corporation, specially-licensed corporation, public or national organization-public interest corporations.
Public corporations listed in Appendix 1 of the Corporation Tax Law. These are organizations or individuals who have paid 15 million yen or more of income tax during the previous year.
How about those who work in a small enterprise or who is in Japan as a student? The applicant can only bring one of his dependents. It should be noted that not everyone with a student status can apply for a Dependent Visa. It all depends on the school he is in. The student of the following types of schools can apply:
- Junior College (Regular Student, Auditor, Elective Course Student, Japanese Language Course Student)
- University (Undergraduate, Auditor, Elective Course Student, Research Student, Japanese Language Course Student)
- Graduate School (Doctor, Master, or Research Student)
To confirm the types of Japanese schools that its student is not allowed to apply for a Dependent Visa are the following:
- Senior High School, Junior High School, Elementary School
- Japanese Language Institution (Advanced vocational school of specialized course, preparatory courses, others)
- Advanced Vocational School (Specialized Course, Higher Course, General Course)
The latter list shows that the students from these types of schools either are not financially capable to support a family member to stay in Japan or on a short visit, and thus, make them eligible to apply for a Dependent Visa.
The immigration office of Japan requires the following documents for the Dependent Visa application:
- Family register;
- Marriage certificate;
- Certificate of acceptance of registration of marriage;
- Birth certificate;
- Any other documents that prove the relationship between the applicant and the dependent;
- Applicant’s passport or certificate of registration;
- Applicants documents that certifies his profession in Japan and that proves that he can support his dependent.
Remember to always keep a photocopy of each of the documents before you submit them.
Is the Japanese language required? No, but you can consult for help as some application forms are written in Japanese. The application process for a Dependent Visa may take two (2) weeks to six (6) weeks upon submission of the required documents. Once the Dependent Visa is approved, the dependents can then make arrangements for their trip to Japan and must be in Japan less than three (3) months after the visa is granted. Again, keep a photocopy of your documents. It will serve as proof in case any of them will be lost.
Things to Remember
- Unlike those with “Japanese spouse” or “permanent residence” status, Dependent Visa holders are not allowed to work unless they are permitted to engage in activities by the Immigration Bureau. The permission allows them to work only as part-time or as a casual employee, not more than 28 hours a week, within the granted time of stay and must not work in an adult entertainment industry.
- In addition, the length of stay varies from three (3) months to five (5) years.
- If there is a need to leave Japan for any reason and it is longer than 12 months, the Dependent Visa holder must get a re-entry permit from the regional immigration office before the trip.
Imagine yourself living in Japan with your dependent loved ones. The whole process can sometimes be exhausting, takes a lot of your time and there are times that it becomes emotionally draining, but the result can be rewarding. All your efforts are surely worth it.